Evolving web application technologies

How many web apps do you know who made their names into the top web app of 2018? Here we have some of the best web apps. Before we share the list of web apps how many of you know, Slack is a web app. Trello is a web app. Google Docs. Gmail. Even Twitter is also a web app.

Web apps trend started out as a collection of hyperlinked documents. Most of us are familiar with “Web 2.0” which came out in the mid of 2000s. In the start people were commenting or up voting on different documents available of these web apps but today people like us are depending upon on such applications in our daily life.

But there’s one near-golden rule about web apps: the native app is probably better.

Native applications are designed and developed for specific platform like Android, IOS, and Windows. Native applications have their own advantage, they are complex and more time taking but it is very hard for a JavaScript based application to match the performance, quality and persistence of a native application. Now talking about the web apps they are quick to develop simpler to handle and easier to iterate but still it cannot match the advantages the native app can bring to your app.

But the web platform continues to evolve, and there are a few upcoming web technologies that could give web apps a better chance at competing with their native counterparts.

Let’s talk about a few of them.

PROGRESSIVE WEB APPS

Progressive web apps are apps developed using JS. Native applications are a big hit in the past because of its features like push notifications, offline app working, translation in apps etc.

For starters to understand what are web apps, it’s basically a website that is designed to work best in mobile using a manifest file which include logo etc which works like a mobile application when it is launched on a mobile device. Progressive Web App saves cache on your device so it has the option to work in offline functionality. That could be anything ranging from saving the JavaScript and CSS so the website simply loads faster, on up to saving everything the user does locally like a traditional app.

In today’s time almost all the web browsers are supporting the web apps including Chrome, Firefox and Opera. Microsoft Edge is also working on this to make their browser web app friendly. Apple has also jumped into this race and currently Safari 11.1 for iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4 are supporting web apps.

Let’s see how well web apps are performing:

Progressive web apps performance:

For the beginners to understand PWA are websites that are designed and developed using “manifest” on their website using this way you can launch any type of mobile app. These applications use a lot of JS and it saves in cache so that it can work offline as well. PWA was not supported in the offline mode but now your applications are available in offline mode as well using “service workers”

PWA in SEO:

Every PWA application you create using a manifest file it will be done using JS. For a PWA, a new URL can be created and the Googlebot will crawl it, just like it does for other pages published on the web. Nevertheless, there could be some crawling issues with PWAs and thus developers have to smartly optimize the site for proper indexing to every page.

BEST PRACTICE AND ACCESSIBILITY SCORE IN PROGRESSIVE WEB APPS

Have a look at the recommendations for avoiding performance pitfalls in PWAs:

  • Use of HTTP/2
  • No using front-end JavaScript libraries with known security vulnerabilities (older versions)
  • Application name should be 12 characters to ensure that it’s not truncated on home screens.
  • No logging errors that can come from network request failures and other browser concerns.
  • Avoids Application Cache
  • Avoids requesting the geo-location permission on page load.
  • Displays images with the correct aspect ratio

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From the developer’s view?

As far as developers are concerned*, their preferences for building progressive web apps are:

  • 40% to use Angular 2.X, 37% ReactJS and only 27% VueJS
  • Bootstrap ratio is around 50%, Material UI(One of the great features in App/web development 33% and Semantic UI (10%) are the most used CSS frameworks
  • The most important PWA features Caching/Offline (over 80%). 66% recognize “Add to home screen” or Installing App prompt as a mandatory in a PWA whereas around 60% consider Push Notifications a key to building PWAs.